PWD officials yet to file complaint; police launch investigation
The presence of several armed contractors — leaders of the ruling Awami League — at the Pabna office of the Public Works Department (PWD) has created a sense of terror among some workers there.
The incident took place on Sunday noon, but the video captured on CCTV came to light only recently, leading to an uproar.
CCTV footage shows Faruk Hossain, science and technology affairs secretary of Pabna Sadar upazila Awami League, entering the PWD building. AR Khan Mamun, organizing secretary of the municipal unit of the party, holds a gun and is behind him. Sheikh Lalu, member of the convening committee of Pabna District Jubo League, has been spotted there as well.
PWD officials have yet to file a complaint to the police in this connection.
The leaders of the Awami League in question have admitted to going to the office with weapons, which they claim are licensed, but saying they were wrong to do so.
A worker, requesting anonymity, said employees were in a state of fear due to the incident.
The ruling party men tried to exercise control over the tenders for various contracts by exerting their influence, thereby denying other contractors the opportunity to submit their bids, he alleged.
Queried about their refusal to lodge a complaint, an official said the Awami League leaders indeed had firearms in their possession but had not threatened anyone.
“The contractors came to my room and said they were here to meet the executive engineer. They did not misbehave or hurl abuses,” said Pabna PWD Deputy Assistant Engineer Mizanur Rahman.
When asked if the armed Awami League leaders had gone there regarding any bills or tenders, he said he had joined the Pabna office recently and was unaware about the matter.
Executive Engineer Anwarul Azim said he was absent when the incident occurred.
“But I have seen on CCTV footage that several people came here with weapons. They did not threaten me directly or over the phone. We did not have a conversation. That is why we did not file a written complaint,” he added.
Faruk Hossain, one of the leaders, said: “I am not a public works contractor. Mamun and Lalu took me there regarding a bill. [In hindsight] we should not have gone there like that.”
AR Khan Mamun said he was on his way to a brick kiln on business related work and was carrying a gun for the sake of security.
“On the way, I went to the PWD office to talk to Executive Engineer Anwarul Azim, but we came back as he was not present. I did not take the gun there to intimidate him,” he added.
Other contractors were trying to take advantage of the misunderstanding, Mamun claimed.
Sheikh Lalu said they had entered the office with weapons by mistake.
Meanwhile, stating that the incident was being looked into, Pabna Superintendent of Police Mohibul Islam Khan said police were investigating if the provisions of the Arms Act had been violated.
Pabna Deputy Commissioner Kabir Mahmud said legal action would be taken as per law enforcement officials’ recommendations.